The good news, as of this writing, is that I finally got out of the sling and out from sleeping in the recliner. The recliner still sits in a corner of my home as I’m unable to lift anything and thus unable to get it out of my house. I never knew a piece of furniture could be such a hated yet necessary item. So with that new perspective, we enter August 2018. We have a lot of rain and sixty to eighty degree temperatures. This seems really unusual for summer in Oklahoma, but it has been an unusual year. This is the Chinese Year of the Dog no less. That explains a lot.
And, August brings us more change at the OCBA than just in temperatures. Yes some of us await the Saturday pigskin kickoffs while others realize that the jury trial season is upon us. This week is our final Executive Committee meeting and Board meeting with this group. We welcome new board members at our final board meeting. At OCBA, this is the time of change in leadership. OCBA President David Cheek will finish his term and President-Elect Judge Sheila Stinson will take over your OCBA in September. President Cheek has done a fantastic job of expanding our thinking on OCBA membership, diversity outreach and technology possibilities for the courthouse. His leadership year has been a great chapter in the OCBA book. David, thanks for your years of service to the profession.
Your next OCBA President is Special Judge Sheila Stinson, who will be a fantastic leader of your OCBA. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for the board and membership. I noted while in Las Vegas last February that this is the Chinese Year of the Dog. Interestingly, when my turn as president of your OCBA comes in September of 2019, we will be in the Year of the Pig and I will finish in the Year of the Rat. I’m a little concerned about what that might imply. However, regardless of what I do during my tenure, being sandwiched between Judge Stinson and Judge Don Andrews, who will be the next OCBA Vice-President and succeed me as President, I really can’t mess up too much that they can’t easily fix.
I spent some time in prior Briefcase articles recently discussing the dedication to our profession of board members, past-presidents, the demographics of your OCBA and the incredible professionals on display at Law Day and at the OCBA Summer Annual Awards Luncheon. I would be remiss at not mentioning the incredible staff of your OCBA. In fact, before taking on the Vice-Presidency, I extracted a promise from Executive Director, Debbie Gorden, that she would remain onboard for at least another three years to cover my term. Again, another safeguard against my glitches whether unintentional or intentional. After passing the bar in 1986 and becoming active in the young lawyer’s committee, I met Debbie Gorden in 1987 when she was an assistant at your OCBA. Working with then Executive Director Bobby Knapp, Debbie was energetic, organized and hard-working. She has continued being a significant presence in the OCBA, taking over as Executive Director in June of 2005. I worked with Debbie during my first go-round on the OCBA Board during the early to mid-90s. Debbie is the foundation that holds your OCBA steady. If you don’t know her, you need to get by the office and meet her.
Pam Bennett, who runs the Attorney Placement Service, started with your OCBA in June of 1997. I laugh with these ladies as we talk about when our kids were little. Pam Bennett is a force in the legal placement community providing annual salary survey information for non-professional positions and providing placement of everything from receptionists to office managers in addition to attorneys. This is an incredible service and revenue generator for your OCBA. Connie Resar joined the OCBA and you will know her from the front desk and her voice from the phone, starting in 2002. Connie is the glue that makes everything hold together as she makes sure that our dues statements are sent out, dues received and deposited, and that your courthouse proximity ID works. Connie keeps everything going, makes sure everything, including this Briefcase, is mailed out and basically insures that the clocks and trains are on time.
If you have not met the terrific trio, get by your OCBA office and be social. This trio is the true heart of the OCBA that continues consistent functioning, as board members and leadership come and go. You can count your OCBA among the most successful bar associations in the U.S. We have great social gatherings, community service, CLEs and professional development. My goals for OCBA tend to gravitate toward the professional development side but that may be because of my recent stent in a recliner on pain meds in front of a TV. I did remember two quotes that may or may not guide my future tenure meeting your OCBA from my time in front of the TV1:
Well I believe in truth…but I’m also a big fan of justice. …
How many of you are there?
So, join me in strengthening your OCBA. We never had too many attorneys involved and well, don’t we all believe in truth and are fans of justice? Every practicing lawyer in Oklahoma County should be a member of the OCBA. #WhyNot
1. Justice League (2017)
Byline: Michael W. Brewer is an attorney, founder, and partner of Hiltgen & Brewer, PC in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. To contact Mike, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (405) 605-9000 or tweet him at @attymikeb. For more information, please visit http://www.hbokc.law.